Clinical aspects and outcomes of 70 patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection: a single-center experience in Saudi Arabia

Int J Infect Dis. 2014 Dec:29:301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2014.09.003. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


Objectives: To report the experience with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection at a single center in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: Cases of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV occurring from October 1, 2012 to May 31, 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. Information sources included medical files, infection control outbreak investigations, and the preventive medicine database of MERS-CoV-infected patients. Data were collected on clinical and epidemiological aspects and outcomes.

Results: Seventy consecutive patients were included. Patients were mostly of older age (median 62 years), male (46, 65.7%), and had healthcare acquisition of infection (39, 55.7%). Fever (43, 61.4%), dyspnea (42, 60%), and cough (38, 54.3%) were the most common symptoms. The majority developed pneumonia (63, 90%) and required intensive care (49, 70%). Infection commonly occurred in clusters. Independent risk factors for severe infection requiring intensive care included concomitant infections (odds ratio (OR) 14.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.58-126.09; p=0.018) and low albumin (OR 6.31, 95% CI 1.24-31.90; p=0.026). Mortality was high (42, 60%), and age ≥65 years was associated with increased mortality (OR 4.39, 95% CI 2.13-9.05; p<0.001).

Conclusions: MERS-CoV can cause severe infection requiring intensive care and has a high mortality. Concomitant infections and low albumin were found to be predictors of severe infection, while age ≥65 years was the only predictor of increased mortality.

Keywords: Clinical; Epidemiology; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV); Saudi Arabia.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology